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Disproportionate Distribution Of Vaccines Needs To Be Addressed, Ensure Its Equitable Distribution: Tripura High Court To Govt

Sparsh Upadhyay
6 Jun 2021 8:56 AM GMT
Disproportionate Distribution Of Vaccines Needs To Be Addressed, Ensure Its Equitable Distribution: Tripura High Court To Govt
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The Tripura High Court on Friday observed that disproportionate distribution of vaccines in the age group where there is a severe shortage needs to be addressed by the State administration.The Bench of Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice S. Talapatra also directed the State Government to ensure that the vaccine doses whenever available for such age group are not monopolized by any region...

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The Tripura High Court on Friday observed that disproportionate distribution of vaccines in the age group where there is a severe shortage needs to be addressed by the State administration.

The Bench of Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice S. Talapatra also directed the State Government to ensure that the vaccine doses whenever available for such age group are not monopolized by any region or class of citizens and that there is a more equitable distribution of such vaccines.

The Court perused the report submitted by the State administration in connection with COVID management in the State and thus, the following issues were highlighted by the Court:

  • We notice that the Government has accepted our suggestion of publishing vaccination bulletin on daily basis. These details which would now be in the public domain and easily accessible to the members of the public would certainly give an idea of the precise position of the vaccination progress to the members of the public;
  • From the data provided in the vaccination bulletins learned advocates for the petitioners and in particular learned amicus curiae Mr. Somik Deb pointed out that:

(a) There is a severe shortage of vaccines for the persons in the age group of 18 to 44 years;

(b) So far, as a result of such shortage, very few persons in this age group have been vaccinated; and

(c) Bulk of such vaccines in this age group has been received by the residents of West Tripura District. It is pointed out that out of a total of 58,125 first vaccines administered in this age group as on 03.06.2021, 57,804 vaccines have been administered in West Tripura District. The data also shows that in several districts very few vaccines have been given to persons in this age group and in some districts no one in this age group has received vaccines so far.

Further, noting that in the Covid wards, one relative per patient is allowed to enter the ward for the requirements of the patient at the discretion of the doctors, the Court said:

"Even if this is the policy of the Government, such a relative after coming out of the Covid ward is a potential carrier of the virus. We expect that the administration would take all necessary precautions while allowing any relative of the patient to enter the Covid ward."

In related news, the Sikkim High Court on Friday expressed concern over the unavailability of Covid-19 vaccine in the State and directed the authorities to take proactive steps in this direction so that the vaccination drive can be taken up on "mission mode".

"Although the population of the entire State stands at a meagre number of approximately 7 lakhs, we are informed that presently vaccines are not available for the 18-44 age group whose population reportedly stands at 2,90,000 (two lakhs and ninety thousand) only," a Division Bench of Justices Meenakshi Madan Rai and Bhaskar Raj Pradhan observed.

So far as the vaccination programme is concerned, the Bench said,

"Considering the entire population of the State, a meagre amount of 14 lakhs vaccines would be the approximate requirement of the State. Thus, we trust that the State-Respondents shall make untiring and proactive efforts to obtain the entire number of requisite doses so that the population of the State can be vaccinated at the earliest.

This becomes imperative in view of the peculiar circumstances of the State inasmuch as the foot-fall of tourists sometimes outnumbers the residents of a particular town and the availability of the medical infrastructure or the lack of it has to be thereby taken into consideration making the vaccination of the population an urgent requirement

This becomes even more imperative looking at the present Covid-19 situation in Sikkim and the mortality rate of patients vis-à-vis the population. The State-Respondents require to actively impress upon the Respondents No.1, 2 and 12 about the total population of the State and the miniscule vaccine requirement thereof."

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